Mr Sean O'Neill: Weekly Update 16/09/2022 - mr-sean-oneill-weekly-update-16-09-2022
Mr Sean O Neill
Secondary Campus Headteacher
16 September, 2022

Mr Sean O'Neill - Weekly Update 16th September 2022

Mr Sean O'Neill: Weekly Update 16/09/2022 - mr-sean-oneill-weekly-update-16-09-2022
Mr Sean O'Neill: Weekly Update 16/09/2022 One of the things I love about the BIS HCMC Community is that although we are proud of what we do, and what we achieve - we are always looking for small ways to make what we do even better.

One of the things I love about the BIS HCMC Community is that although we are proud of what we do, and what we achieve - we are always looking for small ways to make what we do even better.

Part of that process of getting better is inviting educational experts to BIS to evaluate our provision. It was my great pleasure today to welcome Mark Evans, Lead Inspector for British School Overseas inspectorate body back to BIS. Mark will be leading a full inspection team visit in November looking at all aspects of educational provision at BIS.

BSO Sep 2022

It was with great pride that I was able to share with Mark a flavour of the wonderful progress we have made as a community since our last inspection in 2019, and in this week’s update we can see so many small examples of this - whether that be our immersive Year 9 Options Evening, Parent Workshop, our Year 6 Transition Programme or learning across the Sciences, Languages, Arts & Sports - there is so much to enjoy.

We are of course always trying to make some practical steps to improve how our community works together. I am very pleased to share in our update  today that we have a new BIS Car Park Facility on Nguyen van Huong, available to all BIS families. We urge you and your drivers to use the car park to help ease traffic congestion at Pick up time at the end of the school day.  As always it is in these small changes, engaged in together - that we continue to progress at BIS.

My best wishes to you all for the weekend ahead.

Sean O’Neill

Head of Secondary

Year 9 IGCSE Options Evening

IGCSE Options Evening 1

It was a pleasure to be joined by so many Year 9 students and their parents on Wednesday evening. Students and parents learned more about the next exciting chapter in their educational journey as they start to build their individual pathways to IGCSE, the Sixth Form, university and beyond.  As well as an information session in the theatre, everybody benefitted from the opportunity to learn more about the wide range of subjects on offer throughout the IGCSE Programme from both Heads of Department and student ambassadors. From IGCSE scientists dissecting a tuna’s eyeball to artists working on their Art & Design portfolios, there was something for every student to get excited about as they build their IGCSE pathway over the coming weeks. A key phrase throughout the evening was ‘a journey to independence’: our Year 9s are now making their exciting first steps in what is ultimately an individual rite of passage to greater independence. The excitement about choosing subjects that will ignite a passion for learning in the years ahead was palpable and we can now look forward to students registering their ‘first thought options’ from Monday 26th September.

 Lee Falconer, Deputy Head Teacher (Curriculum & Learning)

Year 6 students get to the heart of Secondary learning with Science practical

Y6 to SC for Bio 11

It was a pleasure to welcome the whole of year 6 to the Secondary Campus for a hands-on practical Science lesson in the Secondary Theatre led by our Head of Year 10 and Biology specialist Bee Smith.

Mrs Smith inspired the Year 6 students through a live dissection of pigs’ hearts and lungs, before inviting the students to get hands on for themselves. Huge thanks to Mrs Smith and to the Year 6s. What a great way to start the journey to Secondary school.

Parent Workshop on Digital Citizenship and Wellbeing

SC Digital Citizenship and Wellbeing Workshop Sept  V2

Our first in a series of parental workshops focused on digital citizenship and wellbeing.  Part One of the presentation centred around the practicalities involved in safely and responsibly engaging in the digital world.  Peter Cowen, Secondary Learning Technologies Integrator expertly highlighted some of the key opportunities and challenges faced by students when using the internet.  Mr Cowen shared invaluable tips and recommendations for parents on the following topics:

  • Digital Footprints
  • Sharenting
  • The Billboard Test
  • Age Restrictions
  • Privacy Setting
  • Safe set up for Social Media Profiles

For Part Two of the Workshop, our Advice, Support and Counselling (ASC) Team with Counsellors Saskia Dodds-Smith, Zara Pugh, and An Ho then led a discussion on online behaviours and their impact on wellbeing.  The team discussed both the potential positives and negatives of internet usage, social media interaction and online gaming etc.

Please click here to read more.

Gareth Wills, Deputy Headteacher (Welfare and Guidance)

Year 10 Physics

Y10 physics

In Physics lessons this week, year 10 have been learning how to use motion tracking software to visualise graphically the motion of everyday toys. These included yoyos, remote control cars and nerf guns. The topic now moves onto the abstract concept of forces as a way of explaining the interaction between objects and the consequence on an object’s motion. The picture below shows the students ‘seeing’ forces and developing an understanding of the nature of physics as just one way of ‘seeing’ the world around them.

Dan Crittenden, Physics Teacher

SAIMUSE Charity Concert

SAIMUSE Charity Concert

On Saturday 10th September, 51 BIS students from the symphony orchestra and concert band CCA’s took part in the SAIMUSE charity concert at the HCM Conservatory of music.

Our group of BIS students were organised by Andrew Choi from Y12. He did a great job with the planning and leadership of the event. He said

‘The Saimuse concert gave me an opportunity to interact with other musicians in school and form an orchestra with them. I had to collect students and teach them the value of joining a charity. By helping the unprivileged students in Vietnam through music, students definitely learnt a lesson out of this concert. It was a fantastic experience especially because there were no concerts taking place recently due to covid. We did have some issues practising the music however we eventually overcame the difficulties and finished our outstanding performance at the concert’.

Thanks to all the students for taking part and congratulations on a stunning performance.

Ian Alexander, Director of Music

Read a New Book Month

The act of giving books is charged with a special emotional resonance. It is  a meeting of three minds (the giver, the author,  the recipient), an exchange of intellectual and psychological currency, that leaves each participant enriched. 

Re: Robert Macfarlane's 'The Gifts of Reading' (2017)

September is ‘Read a New Book Month’ at BIS Secondary.

Our teachers at BIS Secondary continue to pass on recommendations of their favourite books to students to help inspire their reading and rise to the ‘read a book you wouldn’t normally read’ challenge.



The Midnight Library by Matt Haig: Recommended by Ms Deane

"Between life and death there is a library where you have the chance to live other lives you could have lived, had you made different choices. We see the journey through the main character, who is not particularly happy with her life choices.

Very enjoyable read. It can be philosophical in parts as it makes you think about your own life choices"

Revolutionary Ride: Recommended by Mr Lowe

"This book combines my interests of riding motorbikes and travelling. Iran is not a country that I knew much about, coming from the UK most of the news I hear would all be negative and paint Iran as not a brilliant travel destination. This book portrays brilliantly what the people of Iran are like and it broke down a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions I had of Iran. I would thoroughly recommend for anyone interested in learning a little of Iranian culture, but also those who like a bit of action and humour".


The Hidden Life of Trees - Peter Wohlleben: Recommended by Ms Hesketh

The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck: Recommended by Ms. Laddaran 

Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro:Recommended by Ms. Doyle

Ms Anita Curley, BIS Secondary Teacher Librarian

SISAC Season 1 of Sport gets underway

The SISAC Season 1 of Sport tipped and hit off this week in grand fashion with a very early in the year fixture week against EIS. A record number of students tried out for the Sports teams this term. Circa 200 sports stars vying to get into our 6 BIS teams made it a gruelling process starting in the first full week back at school.

 A local derby started the season off against EIS both at home and at the SSA sports arena. Our U13 and U15 Basketballers were all triumphant in their opening games and a close loss for the U19 girls Volleyball team in the first competitive fixtures for the school in over a year. Fun and enjoyment were clearly evident in these league matches, and confidence will be high going into the next round of games in a few weeks' time.

It will be great to see students and parents supporting our teams in the next round of fixtures both at BIS and beyond! Please see the links below for the twitter feed of this weeks matches.

Week / School

U13 Boys Basketball

U13 Girls Basketball

U15 Boys Basketball

U15 Girls Basketball

U19 Boys Volleyball

U19 Girls Volleyball

w/b 12/9


Thu 15 Sep


W 30-7

PoM JiSung

Match Report

Thu 15 Sep


W 9-6

PoM Phuong An

Match Report

Tue 13 Sep

Away (SSA)

W 28-14

PoM Wade

Match Report

Tue 13 Sep

Away (SSA)

W 22-8

PoM Lili

Match Report


Thu 15 Sep

Away (SSA)

L 1-2


New BIS Parent Car Park

BIS carl park

To ease traffic congestion at school drop off and pick up, a new Car Park facility will be available to all BIS families and drivers, from next week Monday 19th September.

The car park is conveniently located on Nguyen van Huong between all 3 campuses. Secondary students can walk to the car park, avoiding the traffic congestion at the School gates. By using the car park we can all play our part in keeping our community safe.

World CleanUp Day - Saturday 17th September

CleanUp day

We are delighted to invite everyone to take part in the much-awaited World CleanUp Day which will be taking place at the BIS Early Years and Infant Campus on Saturday 17th September 2022.

The clean-up will be managed in small teams with a staged leaving time:

  • Group A will meet by 8.45am to leave at 9.00am
  • Group B will meet at 9.15am to leave at 9.30am
  • Group C will meet at 9.45am to leave at 10.00am

Everyone who participates will also earn house points!

We look forward to seeing you all there!

International Day - Friday 14th October

International Stall

International Day is back to its original time slot this year, Friday 14th October.

We invite you as parents to get involved and celebrate your home country on Secondary International Day. Consider signing up as a Secondary Country Rep using the link below.  Over 50 nationalities are represented at BIS and last year more than 20 countries were represented on International Day.

International Day is not only a fabulous event for the students, but a wonderful day for  parents and carers to participate and share their home traditions, food and activities.

If you would like to sign up as the representative for your country, please register using the SignUp Genius link below.

Secondary Country Representative Sign-Up

Please contact Mel Rowe (PTG Chairperson) on +84 93 802 9513 for any queries.

Melanie Rowe, Secondary PTG Chair

College and University Guidance

The College and University Guidance Department at BIS have been delighted this week with the re-introduction of our in-person university visits. These have already begun and have proven to be popular. We have visits next week from universities in England, Scotland, the United States, Canada as well as Hong Kong. We are also continuing with our Virtual Visits by way of our ongoing Webinar Program. Next Thursday we are joined online by Medical Schools from the 4 leading  universities from the Republic of Ireland. For more details on precisely which universities are visiting us see the parent and student calendar pages. We also have in-person university fairs which we are hosting at BIS and others going on across the city in the coming month. We will send out further information on these fairs in due course (including sign-up details). 

Community Choir Rehearsals Begin

Community Choir Poster 20222301

Rehearsals have resumed with our fantastic community choir this week.  The community choir is open to all adult members of the BIS community who enjoy singing.

Rehearsals will take place on Thursday mornings 7.00am - 7.40am in the Secondary Theatre OR Friday afternoons in the Junior Campus multi-purpose room 13.15-14.15.

All are welcome, whatever your singing level.

Parents should register attendance in advance on this link .

Parent Partnership Calendar

If you would prefer to download the Parent Partnership Calendar, please click here

HS Banner

Request to update Passport Details

In the next week, we will be sending out a Google Form to collect Passport Details for all students on the Secondary Campus.  This is to help prepare for the upcoming expeditions scheduled for later in the academic year.

This request refers directly to the following year groups:

  • Year 7
  • Year 8
  • Year 9
  • Year 10
  • Year 12

You will be contacted via iSAMS Email about this request and we are very grateful for your time and attention in responding to this essential task.

It is important for the school to have these details to allow for the smooth running of the planning and preparation for all domestic and overseas expeditions. Taking the information in now will allow for Expedition Leaders to prepare accordingly and help identify and help to resolve any possible issues that may arise.  Gathering this information is also essential in a safeguarding and health and safety sense.   All information collected is stored securely and confidentially.

The Google Form will ask for the entry of Passport Details and the uploading of a scanned copy of the Passport Details page.  It is essential that details are accurately entered and that scans are of a high quality.

Thanks in advance for support in this matter.  We will be in contact soon with further details and the relevant Google Form.

Gareth Wills, Deputy headteacher (Welfare and Guidance)

  • Saturday 17th September: World Clean Up Day 2022, Early Years & Infant Campus, a BIS Community event, from 8.30am to 11am.
  • Thursday 22nd September:  Virtual Year 9 Parent Teacher Student Conferences, Year 9 parents online by appointment, 3-6pm
  • Monday 26th September: Virtual Year 7 Parent Teacher Student Conferences, Year 7 parents online by appointment, 3-6pm


Enjoy your weekend,


Kind regards,


Sean O’Neill

Head Teacher, Secondary Campus